Shoestring Strategies for Harvard A guide for students on a budget

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1 Harvard College H F A I Harvard Financial Aid Initiative Shoestring Strategies for Harvard A guide for students on a budget Harvard College Harvard Financial Aid Initiative

2 Harvard Financial Aid Initiative hot HFAI tip Harvard College This shoestring smiley pops up whenever we ve got a hot tip for you. Feel free to use them, but please don t abuse them. Introduction 2 Making It on Your Own 6 Finding the Difference between 7 Want and Need Writing up and Sticking to a Budget 8 Lessons on Banking 9 table of contents Consumer Debt Just Say No! 10 Because only Two Things are 12 Guaranteed in Life and One of Those is Taxes Financial Aid in a Nutshell 12 Student Loans the Real Deal 14 Important Resources 14 Life at Harvard 16 Buying Furniture 17 Textbooks 19 Buying Course Packs 20 Board Plus 21 Tech on the Cheap 22 FAS Printing 24 Beneficiary Aid Fund 24 Subsidized Tutoring 25 Study Abroad 26 Sports Funding for Varsity Athletes 27 Subsidized Music Lessons 28 Office of the Arts Student Rush Deals 30 Getting Around with the M2 Shuttle 31 Budget Bites 32 Clothing 32 UHS & Other Health Benefits 33 Student Events Fund 34 Entertaining in Boston 35 Making a Date Budget Inexpensive Date Ideas 39 Entertaining Family and Friends 43 Inexpensive Hotels for Visitors 44 Making Money Instead Of Spending Money 45 Resources 47 Specific Jobs 50 Summer on Financial Aid 51 Finding a Place to Stay in Cambridge/ Boston 55 Harvard Summer Jobs 55 Dorm Crew Spring Clean-Up 56 Reunion Jobs 60 Summer Internships 63 Summer Funding 66 A Little Something Extra

3 Introduction Mission of the Guide: Shoestring Strategies for Harvard As student coordinators of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), we have created this guide in an attempt to make life easier for Harvard students on a budget. We hope we succeed at pointing out strategies and resources for budget minded students. Mission of HFAI: Our mission is to help students from modest economic backgrounds learn about Harvard, apply if interested, matriculate if accepted, and get the best out of their experience after they arrive. 3

4 The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative: In March 2004, former Harvard President Lawrence Summers announced a major new initiative designed to enable more talented students from families of low and moderate incomes to attend Harvard College. This became known as the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. Two years later financial aid was further expanded for low income families, and in 2007 President Faust reinforced Harvard s commitment to excellence and opportunity across the economic spectrum by significantly expanding financial aid for families with incomes up to $180,000. The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative includes three broad areas: Financial Aid: Parent(s) of families with incomes of less than $60,000 are not currently expected to contribute to their children s cost of attendance to Harvard. In addition, Harvard has reduced the contributions expected of families with incomes between $60,000 and $80,000. Admissions: Harvard has reemphasized, in the context of its highly personalized admissions process, the policy of taking note of applicants who have remarkable accomplishments despite limited resources at home or in their local schools and communities. Campus Life: By increasing the amount of economic diversity on campus, Harvard is also changing the campus experience for all students. We ve opened up forums to talk about issues of diversity and access to education as well as created resources for students, such as this guidebook, and a monthly newsletter sent from the Financial Aid Office. What We Do: Shoestring Strategies for Harvard We assist with the national recruiting effort of the Initiative. Our outreach includes phone calls and s to thousands of students; communicating with high school advisors; leading tours and information sessions for visiting students; connecting with community groups; traveling throughout the country to our hometowns in order to talk about what life is really like at Harvard; composing monthly newsletters for current students; and hosting events on the Harvard campus promoting economic diversity. Why We Do It: A student from the highest income quartile and the lowest aptitude quartile (as measured by standardized test scores) is as likely to be enrolled in college as a student from the lowest income quartile and the highest aptitude quartile. At the nation s most selective colleges and universities, only 3% of students come from the bottom quartile of the national income distribution and only 10% come from the bottom half. Almost three quarters come from families in the top quartile. (Carnivale & Rose) 5 The median income in the Unites States is approximately $50,000. (U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts, 2009)

5 7 Making It on Your Finding the Difference between Want and Need Own Writing up and Sticking to a Budget Lessons on Banking Consumer Debt Just Say No! Because only Two Things are Guaranteed in Life and One of Those is Taxes Finding the Difference between Want and Need Want: To feel a desire for; to wish for. Need: To require; to be necessary. Unfortunately, once you re on your own and surrounded by as diverse a group of people as the Harvard community, the fine line between want and need becomes even harder to distinguish. Since everyone has different wants and needs, we cannot give you hard and fast rules to recognize which is which. Instead, we can only recommend figuring it out for yourself as soon as possible. Part of being on your own is figuring out what your specific wants and needs are and then working a budget around them. First, sit down and write down your most basic needs, then the small wants that feel like needs because they add more to your life than they take away from your wallet; finally, list the wants that you can use to reward yourself. We re not suggesting that you deprive yourself of all wants, but that you recognize them and use that understanding to live within your means. Financial Aid in a Nutshell Student Loans the Real Deal Important Resources

6 9 Lessons on Banking Choosing a bank is your first step! Be sure to do your research when deciding where to bank. Here are some things to look for: Writing up and Sticking to a Budget Preparing a personal financial budget is vital toward effective money management. Start by identifying your sources of money and how much you actually can spend. Once you know this, it is important to track exactly where your money is going each month. Remember to include a set amount in your budget for saving, ensuring that you have something to fall back on in case of an emergency. Below is a chart of how independent adults generally budget their expenses. Keep it in mind for summers on your own and for the future. Housing: 30-36% Food: 12-17% Car: 15-20% Insurance: 3-7% Credit Cards: 5-7% Entertainment: 5-8% Clothes: 5-6% Savings: 5-10% Miscellaneous: 5-10% Medical: 4-8% Student Loans: 10-15% ATMs: Are there ATMs easily available throughout the city? The country? Fees: Many banks actually offer free checking for college students. Online Services: Does the bank offer easily accessible and useful online features? Customer service: If you need help, is it easy to call and get it? Debit card service: A debit card offers the convenience of a credit card, but the money is deducted from your checking account. Once you have your checking account, it might be a good idea to open a savings account as well. The difference? Often, savings accounts require that you go to an ATM machine to take out money rather than just being able to write a check or use a debit card, and they may also penalize you if you take out too much money. The benefit, however, is that money sitting in a savings account collects interest. Interest is always good.

7 11 Consumer Debt Just Say No! Whether you ve just graduated from high school or you re a second semester senior, you have likely already found that you are a prime piece of beef in the never-ending fight for your credit card preference. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are competing to get YOU; or, more correctly, to get your money. These credit card companies offer the pretty tantalizing opportunity to do internet shopping, get cash back (or free flights, or free books, or pretty much free anything you d like), or just general convenience. Like most parts of your financial life, the credit card can be a fantastic tool or, it can make you the tool and control you for years to come. Here are some tips on how to stay on the winning end of that relationship. 1. Don t go into consumer debt. Make this your mantra, and repeat it to yourself before going out to eat, buying DVDs online, or bidding on ebay. Consumer debt is not like educational debt (from taking out student loans) because it can really damage your credit. Whatever you decide about your spending habits beyond college can be separate from this decision, but for now, you are far better off avoiding the trap. 2. Use your credit card like a debit card. Never assume that because your credit limit is higher than your bank account balance that you actually own that money. Using your credit card like a debit card will keep you out of the red. 3. Keep a record of everything. Keep an ongoing tab of the money you spend and the money you earn. Quicken and other such financial software can do it for you, or simply a little notebook that you keep with you wherever you go. Knowing how much you spend and how much you earn will always allow you to see where you are and whether or not you really can afford that trip to the Bahamas for spring break. Each fall, the Financial Aid Office also conducts a series entitled Financial Aid 101, which does a terrific job of teaching economic literacy to incoming students. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement early in the year, and try to attend a session for more tips on managing consumer debt, budgeting, and other helpful hints as you begin your year. Each workshop is the same, but they are repeated over a few weeks so as to meet as many students schedules as possible.

8 13 Because only Two Things are Guaranteed in Life and One of Those is Taxes While we are all happy to celebrate each New Year, it means that soon you will have to be dealing with filling out financial aid forms and filing your taxes, both federal and state. However, the federal government has made this task less challenging and a whole lot cheaper. Most college students only have to fill out a 1040EZ form and you can submit the whole thing on-line in a matter of minutes once you get your W-2 forms back. The IRS website provides a list of tax firms that will walk you through filing your taxes, both federal and state. One word of advice: when filing your state taxes don t forget to put MA as your temporary place of residence if you don t permanently live here or your taxes will get messed up. No one wants to be on the IRS bad side. Other than that, the website does a great job of making it simple for people to quickly file their taxes. Financial Aid in a Nutshell Harvard financial aid promises to be need-based and to meet the full need of all students applying for financial aid. So, what s that supposed to mean? Need-based means that the Financial Aid Office determines how much aid a student gets the same way for all students: by looking at her family s income and other factors that may affect it. Meeting the full need is Harvard s promise that it will provide you with a financial aid package that will ensure your ability to attend Harvard. So, how does the financial aid office attain these goals? It awards financial aid packages that are composed of a few main sections. The first section is how much they have determined your parents can afford to contribute to your education. A real-live person, not a computer, approximates this figure so every student and family is looked at individually. One of the many benefits of this is that if your family s financial situation changes, you can go to the office and talk to YOUR financial aid officer about it. The second section is the student contribution, which is usually between $1500 and $2600 but may be more or less depending on a student s assets and year in school. This contribution is expected to be earned during the summer or through outside scholarships and is a part of the Financial Aid Office s idea that a student should share the responsibility of paying for his or her education. The third section is Self-Help. Self-Help is the amount of money that the financial aid office believes that you should be able to contribute during the term and is typically between $2500 and $3400. Self-Help can be met by a term-time job, loan, outside scholarship, or any combination of the three. If a student has problems with meeting her Self-Help or is just worried about how she should go about doing it she should (again) meet with her financial aid officer. That covers all the parts of a financial aid package that need to be paid while you re at school. The rest of the package is Harvard scholarship, which doesn t have to be paid back.

9 15 Student Loans the Real Deal Many of us elect to take out loans, so let s take a closer look and see what they actually do and how they can be useful. The short-term use of loans is quite obvious, as they give you the money you need when you need it, but taking out student loans can also have some long-term benefits. For instance, they build up your credit, especially if you pay them off properly, and it s always a plus to have good credit. They also end up being quite affordable. Most of the student loans offered to us (Perkins, Stafford, and Harvard) are low-interest, and the Perkins, Subsidized Stafford, and Harvard Loans don t even start accumulating interest until your grace period ends (grace periods range from 6-9 months after you graduate, but you can defer them longer if you go on to graduate school). Since the interest rate is only a few points higher than inflation, often the amount of money that you borrowed feels like a lot less by the time you have to pay it back. Important Resources Unfortunately, we can t answer all your questions about making it on your own here, but many others can: Financial Aid Office: We can t stress enough what an important resource the Financial Aid Office is, and especially your financial aid officer. Your officer is the person to go to with any important and specific questions Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI): Feel free to contact us at our office to ask more specific questions or clarify a few things with a fellow student: or us at Office of Career Services (OCS): Know what you want to do? Have no idea what you want to do? Have a rough idea maybe? Go see OCS. They ll help you with career decisions, job searching, finding work abroad, summer employment/internships, and networking. They are also key when it comes to finding fellowships and grants for summer activities, internships, research, etc. To schedule an appointment with an advisor call University Health Services: Go there for the obvious things, and don t be afraid to ask them about all the free services they offer and the extra things they ll do to help you out if you are a low-moderate income student Bureau of Study Counsel: Hey, there are no fees for talking with a Bureau counselor, whether you are concerned about how to cope with your annoying roommate, or why your grades aren t what you expected, or how to make the most of your college experience. Just call for an appointment. The Bureau offers counseling, groups, and workshops focused on mental health free of charge

10 Life at Harvard Buying Furniture Buying Textbooks Buying Course Packs Board Plus Tech on the Cheap FAS Printing Beneficiary Aid Fund Subsidized Tutoring Study Abroad Sports Funding for Varsity Athletes Subsidized Music Lessons Office of the Arts Student Rush Deals Getting Around with the M2 Shuttle Budget Bites Clothing UHS & Other Health Benefits Student Events Fund Buying Furniture Shoestring Strategies for Harvard You ve just arrived, met your roommates, chosen your room, and have started planning the motif that will come to define your first year. Some of your roommates might be interested in buying brand name towel racks, spending a small fortune on a Persian rug, or other furniture budget busters. Don t fret. Here are a couple of strategies that will help. 1. Set limits. Budgets are always important, and there s no better time to start your college budgeting than the first few days of decorating your room. While it s tempting to purchase more than you might actually need (or have cash for) during this exciting time, and equally easy to simply give in to the high prices of retail shops surrounding Harvard Square, there are several ways in which you can still find terrific pieces to make your room your own. Setting a budget with your roommates can help. 2. The Habitat for Humanity s annual stuff sale is a great way to get that perfect (if not slightly used) futon, couch, mirror, or just about anything else you can imagine. The best part is that everything is sold at unbeatable prices, and all the proceeds go to supporting the Harvard chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The sale happens at the beginning of every school year right outside of the Science Center. Be sure to get there early to pick up the really good stuff. It s really a great way to make your room your own without spending a fortune. 17

11 19 3. Craig s List. If you re not from a major city and even if you are you may never have heard of Craig s List. It s a fantastic website, advertising anything from jobs, to books, to furniture. Some people get so desperate to get rid of their junk that they will even bring it to you. In any case, check it out before hitting up some of the luxury brands around Cambridge. 4. Harvard Websites. Harvard students have taken to the web to sell unneeded couches, futons, televisions and much more. Two great websites to buy goods from Harvard students on campus at prices far cheaper than can be found at retail outlets are: harvardsells.com and 5. Futons, futons, futons. They re cheaper than couches, they handle college life better, and they double as a bed for visiting friends and relatives. Pop the idea around before people get their hearts set on the leather sofa that you know costs more than your tuition. 6. Here s the best secret. When spring comes, get in touch with graduating seniors. They have everything you could (n)ever want, from bookshelves to couches to refrigerators to books, etc. And if you can wait until they re really desperate, you can walk away with a new room for a song. The trick is to have the foresight to buy, store, and then enjoy when fall rolls around. Textbooks Let s be honest. One of the worst things about going to college is paying for your books. Despite all its convenience, you may want to look outside the Harvard Coop. Planning ahead and ordering textbooks online will save you tons of money. If you can give yourself a few days (i.e. 5-7 for shipping), you can save up to 50% per book. Other moneysaving options include renting textbooks or downloading e-textbooks. With so many options out there, who needs to go to the Coop? 1. Buying textbooks Below is a list of websites you can order your textbooks from at discount prices. is the best, since you can see exactly how much you are saving in an interesting comparison feature. The others are also great, but make sure you are searching the used sections at places like amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. Otherwise, it may not be worth it. Amazon is particularly useful as you get free shipping on textbooks (and many other items) if you sign up for their free Amazon Student account. Be sure to take into account shipping costs and wait times when ordering online. If you do end up buying from the Harvard Coop it is worth showing up early and buying used books and signing up for a

12 Coop membership, which costs a dollar a year and gets you a rebate the following fall. You can also sell your books back to the Coop or an online service at term s end to fund next term s purchases Buying Course Packs Classes often ask you to read many different sources and articles that they put together in course packs. Depending on their size and copyright laws, some course packs can be quite expensive. Before paying the full price for a course pack, check if the articles can be found online, offer to share with a roommate, or see if the previous year s course pack is similar and available for half-price at the Habitat for Humanity sale in front of the Science Center. All course packs are on reserve for free access at Lamont Library. 2. Renting textbooks We all know that once we re done with a textbook, we ll probably never read that book again. So why buy when you can rent? The websites listed below offer a cheap and flexible way to ensure you have all your reading materials for class Shoestring Strategies for Harvard 3. E-textbooks Want to save money, space AND your back? Then e-textbooks may be the answer. Many e-textbooks also allow you to highlight and jot notes down. 4. Rely on your fellow classmates At the start and end of every semester, students will often sell their used textbooks at a pretty reasonable rate, so be on the lookout for that! Board Plus This nifty service provides students with an extra 65 bucks every semester to use for food, and it s built right into your ID card. Use Board Plus to pay for your meals at on campus restaurants or to pay for friends and family in the dining halls. This money is non-transferable so use it up! Board Plus is conveniently accepted at the following locations: The Barker Rotunda Buckminster s at LISE Cambridge Queen s Head Chauhaus at the GSD Cronkhite Dining Room Dudley Café The Greenhouse at the Science Center Lamont Library Cafe The Northwest Cafe The Observatory Cart The Rock Cafe at HDS Sebastian s Café in Boston 21

13 23 Tech on the Cheap While computers are readily available for use in the houses and in the Science Center, nearly all students choose to have their own on campus. Buying a computer can be daunting and can become even more challenging when price is a factor to consider along with memory, hard drive, operating system, and battery life. Research and price comparison are your best tools for buying a computer. Here are a few resources that can help: Get a sense for what kind of computer is necessary at Harvard. Computer Services updates system requirements yearly. If you have questions give them a call at Harvard has a partnership with Lenovo (IBM), Apple, and GovConnection. com. Students get preferred pricing. Check out the technology services office in the basement of the Science Center to try out many of the computers and talk to the experts. GovConnection also offers great pricing on cameras and other accessories. Create a student account with HP and get sizable discounts on HP and Compaq computers. HPs are often less expensive than IBMs for similar performance. The Harvard Coop has a Dell education account that you can take advantage of. You can register your computer and bike with HUPD on their website. They will keep a record of your property s serial number on file and give you a tamper-resistant decal to deter theft. Other Vendors Checking prices online at stores like Staples, Bestbuy, Walmart, and Tigerdirect.com is easy and can bring big savings. Most stores do not offer a specific student discount but their prices may still be better. Free Software! Harvard offers a lot of discounts on software for University affiliates. You can get a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional, Dreamweaver, Pagemaker, Adobe Photoshop, or McAfee VirusScan along with many other useful programs for Macs and PCs at You can also get reduced-price software and operating systems from GovConnection and Harvard Computer Services. Computer Loan The Financial Aid Office offers a special loan program for buying personal computers. Check out the details at harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic files/computer_loan.pdf.

14 Keep an eye out for Stressbusters, Harvard s very own team of specially trained student volunteers. They offer free 5-7 min. back and shoulder massages and can be found in Lamont Café or at campus events and meetings. FAS Printing Ink cartridges getting expensive? No worries, head over to the nearest computer lab and print away. You can add money, check your balance, and view your transaction history with the click of a button at www. fas.harvard.edu/printing. Although printing is reasonably cheap (only 5 cents per side for black and white), you can save even more money and help save the environment by duplexing, printing on both sides of the page. To learn more about duplexing or printing in general, visit www. fas.harvard.edu/computing or call the student computer help desk at Beneficiary Aid Fund Living on a budget can help ensure that college life doesn t bankrupt you, but what about those emergency costs that no one can really plan for? That s where the Beneficiary Aid Fund comes in. This assistance is meant to help out with unexpected term-time costs. A student only needs to fill out the easy, one page application (http//isites.harvard.edu/ fs/docs/icb.topic files/beneficiary_aid_application.pdf) to receive assistance for emergency medical, dental, or other non-discretionary education-related expenses. So whether you sit on your glasses or have your wisdom teeth taken out, the Financial Aid Office has your back. Subsidized Tutoring Shoestring Strategies for Harvard Many people hear that getting into Harvard is the hard part; once you re in, it s a breeze. Not true! Thankfully, the Bureau of Study Counsel offers individual peer tutoring for when the going gets tough. The courses most often requested are in mathematics, natural sciences, economics, and languages. Tutoring is also available in English as a Second Language (ESL). The cost of peer tutoring in any subject is $7 per hour for Harvard College undergraduates, and if you are on financial aid, these tutoring fees will ordinarily be paid at the same percentage of grant aid that your financial aid package provides. As of Fall 2010, peer tutoring coverage will be processed automatically by the Financial Aid Office at the end of each semester. Other Resources at the Bureau: Free Groups and Workshops such as Speaking up in Class, What are you Doing with your Life?, Procrastination Group, and many more. $25 Course in Reading and Writing Strategies. This reading course helps students read faster, strategically and selectively by helping students develop a greater range of reading rates and reading strategies so that students have more choices available to approach any text. It is offered twice a year at the start of each semester. There is also financial aid available for students who qualify. Visit the Bureau website, for additional information and online study resources. 25

15 27 Study Abroad Visit the Center for Health and Wellness which is located on the 1st floor of Holyoke Center. New healthrelated freebies are offered every week and if you can spare $10 you might want to relax with one of the ten-minute massages they offer. Studying Abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you should try to take advantage of during their time at Harvard. To make a semester in Argentina, China, or France (to name but a few countries) even more enticing, your financial aid travels with you! The Financial Aid Office works closely with the Office of International Programs to help you work on your global citizenship and your Harvard degree at the same time. Sports Funding for Varsity Athletes If you are an intercollegiate varsity athlete and you receive Pell Grant funding as part of your financial aid package or if you are an international intercollegiate varsity athlete and you have demonstrated financial need comparable to that required of a Pell Grant recipient, then you will receive an informing you that you are eligible to receive funding from the NCAA Student-Athlete Assistance Fund. Reimbursements are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. This funding will cover your expenses for the academic year in categories such as: Health Insurance Premiums Emergency Health, Dental, Vision Expenses Academic Course Supplies Costs Related to Family Emergencies Clothing and Other Essentials The Office of International Programs, on the ground floor of University Hall, is a wonderful place to start your journey. Ask questions and find out more about how to get the most from your time away. OIP also has a terrific database of grants to support international experiences. Check out: oip_money.html.

16 Subsidized Music Lessons Now that you are here at Harvard, you may want to try new things and meet new people. Excellent idea. But don t let those years of hard work playing your instrument go to waste (unless, of course, you really hate it, then waste it with pleasure). Before selling your violin, guitar, or accordion in fear that you just can t afford music lessons, check out the Office for the Arts Music Lesson Subsidy Program. If you are not a beginner (but not necessarily a Mozart, Pavarotti, or Jimi Hendrix), and are on financial aid, you may be eligible to have your music lessons subsidized anywhere from 35% to 100%. To learn more, check out: ofa.fas.harvard.edu/support/mlsp.php. Office of the Arts Artist Development Fellowships The OFA provides grants to help support undergrads in their artistic development. Promising and/or accomplished student artists and creators are encouraged to apply for these fellowships, which are open to all Harvard Undergraduates. Specifically, this program aims to help with the development of artists with the hope that the fellowship will be a major turning point in their artistic skills. Applications can be found at the OFA Website: Project Grants The Office for the Arts (OFA) Grants for artistically innovative, undergraduate-focused projects are awarded to Harvard undergraduates and other members of the community. Funded projects combine artistic merit, artistic experimentation, educational benefit to undergraduates, a ripple effect within the university, and involvement of and visibility to a maximum number of undergraduates. Applicants must apply for funding one semester in advance of their proposed project date, and the applications can be found here: grants.php. Student Rush Deals Shoestring Strategies for Harvard Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston. College Night. See a Huntington production then join after the show for a special backstage tour and party! $15 student-rate tickets are available online, just enter promo code 1082 on the ticket login screen or call the Box Office at Institute of Contemporary Art, Fan Pier, South Boston $10 Students with ID, Free after 5pm on Thursdays. Boston Symphony Orchestra, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston $9 Rush Tickets. A limited number of Rush Tickets are available for Boston Symphony concerts. Rush Tickets are limited to one per customer, and must be paid for with cash only. For more information about student rush and discount tickets, check out the following site: images.jsp?id=bcat

17 Budget Bites: 5 Inexpensive Dining Options Shoestring Strategies for Harvard 31 Getting Around with the M2 Shuttle The M2 shuttle is a great way to get to the Medical School Campus and it s free! All you need to do is swipe your Harvard ID and you can travel to the Longwood Medical Area. It also stops at MIT, Central Square and the Back Bay. So feel free to use it to get to any of those areas as well. They generally run from 7 AM to 9 PM about every half an hour, (less frequently on Saturday) and can be caught at Lamont or Johnston Gate. Check for more details. Join a group and host a dinner. The UC and a variety of other organizations offer funding for extracurricular groups to do virtually anything, including hosting discussion dinners. Invite a guest speaker, or just hold a discussion among friends, and order something decidedly not massproduced. The UC will often foot the bill. See edu/#grants There may be times when you crave food outside of Harvard University Dining Services expertise. Here are some cheap and tasty alternatives: 1. HFAI dinners. If you are an HFAI student, you will receive an inviting you to these catered and free meals offered by the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. Relax, make new friends, and eat great food! 2. Café Gato Rojo. Interested in the self-proclaimed cheapest, tastiest fair-trade coffee, teas and specialty drinks anywhere in Harvard Square? Café Gato Rojo is completely student-run and a great place to hang out, study, meet people and avoid the over-priced, corporate cafes around the Square. There, we couldn t have said it better ourselves. Lehman Hall, Harvard Yard; Pizza at Oggi s. If you are looking for an excellent large pizza to eat with your roommates, look no further than Oggi. From 6-8pm on Monday nights, venture down into Harvard s very own Holyoke Center to enjoy a $5 award-winning large pizza. Holyoke Center, Harvard Square; Grendel s Den. A fun place to get a good bite of quality food. Food is half priced from 5-7:30pm every day and from 9-11:30pm Sunday- Thursday. 89 Winthrop St, Harvard Square; Boston Restaurant Week. For those of you looking for something a bit swankier, this option offers some of Boston s best dining experiences at affordable prices. For 2 weeks at the end of August and 2 weeks in the middle of March, everyone can sample fixed price menus (all at a considerable discount) at some of the best restaurants in Boston.

18 33 Clothing Yes, it gets pretty nippy in Cambridge during the winters, but if you have the right clothes and equipment, you ll easily conquer the snowy winters here. Having said that, we know that clothes can be expensive, and so that s where the Winter Coat Fund comes in. Freshmen who are on significant financial aid are eligible to receive up to $100 for winter gear. And what s the best way to stretch this money? Places like the Burlington Coat Factory and even TJ Maxx offer great deals for winter (and all season) gear. UHS & Other Health Benefits It s easy to get caught up with the hustle and bustle that is Harvard life. Sometimes, however, it s necessary to slow down and relax. Harvard University Health Services offer a variety of programs to help you do just that. Center for Wellness & Health Communication The CWHC promotes the lifelong health and well being of those in the Harvard community. They have a variety of resources to help you understand your health: books, tapes, and DVDs can all be borrowed from the library. They also have listing of all the resources on the Harvard campus. Feel free to stop by and talk one-on-one with a health educator too. Mental Health Liaison A new program created by the Harvard-Radcliffe Mental Health Advocacy and Awareness Group in the spring of 07, the mental health liaisons are students who have received special training in the field of mental health. Every house should have one. They are invaluable resources for finding inexpensive ways to help you relax, as well as helping you find ways to deal with stress. Going through a rough patch and want to talk to someone? Visit Room 13 in Thayer basement to talk to any one of the friendly and caring student counselors on staff. You do not need an appointment, and you can remain anonymous if you wish. And to top it off, they offer free cookies! Student Events Fund There is always something going on from huge house parties to a capella concerts, improv comedy to musical theatre. These events are usually reasonably priced, but they can add up rather quickly. That s why we have the Student Events Fund (SEF). The Student Events Fund is offered by the Financial Aid Office, the Harvard Box Office, and the Office of the Dean and was created in 2002 with the help of the Undergraduate Council. The fund allows eligible students to order one ticket to any number of student-produced events that sell tickets through the Harvard Box Office. There is no way to petition or ask for the fund. The Financial Aid Office awards SEF funding to students on the basis of need and everything is strictly confidential. We re mentioning it here so that if you think you might be eligible you can keep your eye out for the notification, because that is the only way they will let you know you qualify. So, if you see an from the Financial Aid Office with Student Events Fund in the subject line, don t delete it, it could be your free ticket!

19 Entertaining in Boston Making a Date Budget 10 Inexpensive Date Ideas Entertaining Family and Friends Inexpensive Hotels for Visitors Making a Date Budget Shoestring Strategies for Harvard Before a date, it is important to consider just how much you really need to spend. Going overboard to impress your date at the expense of your finances is not necessary, as there are multiple quality options available for dating on a budget. Putting actual thought into planning the date rather than splurging all your cash on something fancy can make an even greater impression. The more you prepare, the more guarded you are against additional costs that may arise. 35

20 37 10 Inexpensive Date Ideas 1. Go to the Boston Children s Museum (300 Congress Street, ) and act like kids again! Play with the hands-on displays and interactive exhibits, including a two-story maze. There are Target $1 Friday nights (5-9PM) and Library discount coupons for $2 admission on other nights. 2. Check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Free to Harvard ID holders (and one non-harvard guest). The many exhibits include zoological galleries, meteorites, fossils and of course, the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, otherwise known as the Glass Flowers that your parents have been nagging you to see since you got here. Located close to the Science Center on 28 Oxford Street. 3. A sunny day along the Charles River always makes for a great scenic date, whether you two are working out together or relaxing. The river is only a few steps from campus and has miles of pedestrian trails for biking, inline skating, and running, in addition to plenty of grass for a picnic or a Frisbee game. On Sundays, cars are not allowed on Memorial Drive so that pedestrians can further enjoy the serenity that the river provides. 4. Check out Tuesday Open Mic Night at Club Passim (26 Church Street, Harvard Square). Featuring local folksingers from 7pm late into the night at the low-key Club Passim, Open Mic Night is only $5 for admission. If you re totally broke, don t despair. On warm nights, a crowd of listeners can be found on the sidewalk outside the café, where music drifts into the street. 5. Put on your mittens and go ice-skating at several rinks in the area. At the Charles Hotel rink ( ) in Harvard Square, admission is $5 if you bring your own skates. Another popular location is the Frog Pond in Boston Common (Park Street off of the Red Line). Admission is $4 and skate rentals are $8. The Skating Club of Boston is just across the river from Harvard, in Allston (Western Ave. and Everett St. bus stop off of the 70 or 70A bus). Admission is $8 and skate rentals are $4. Finally, The Department of Conservation and Recreation runs many area skating rinks, including the Simoni Arena on Gore street in Cambridge (Sixth Street bus stop off of the 69 bus). Admission is $5 and skate rentals are $4. 6. Don t forget the Museum of Fine Arts. Free to Harvard ID holders at all times, so play it up. Additionally, Harvard students receive a 10% discount at the gift shop. Just take the E branch of the Green Line to the Museum stop. 7. Go to the beach. Revere Beach is the oldest public beach in America, established in It is free, uncrowded, accessible by public transportation, and open year-round. During the hot summer months, enjoy a swim in the chilly water or visit in the winter for the beautiful scenery, to collect seashells and driftwood, or to take a romantic stroll by the sea. To get there, take the Blue Line to Revere Beach or Wonderland Station. Cross the street to the beach.

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